Judges power to annul polls enormous, needs review, says Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said there is a need to review the power of judges to annul elections, thereby overruling the franchise of millions of Nigerians who choose a particular leader.

He described as unacceptable a situation where three or four judges would determine who rules after Nigerians have gone to the polls to make a decision.

The ex-President spoke on Monday at a high-level consultation he organised on ‘Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa’ held at Green Legacy Resorts, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.

The high-level consultation had in attendance academia and politicians, such as former governors of Ekiti, Jigawa,  Cross Rivers and Sokoto states, Kayode Fayemi, Sule Lamido, Lylel Imoke and  Aminu Tambuwal, respectively.

He said, “I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted. Now, we have to find a way to handle that.

“I don’t know what the way will be but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10 million on one side, maybe nine million on the other side; then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed. I believe that should not be accepted.

“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say, ‘Go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.

“So, I personally feel strongly about it. It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact, only five people or seven will sit down. If there are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four.”

Obasanjo also said he has reservations about the phrase “Nigerian factor” because it is generally used to explain away wrong things.

He said for failing to play by the “Nigerian factor” rule, his party lost in a local government election in 1998.

Obasanjo said in the spirit of the “Nigerian factor,” party leaders had told him that there should be money allocated for the police and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission but he kicked against the idea on the grounds that policemen and INEC officials are government workers who earn their salaries.

Recalling the experience, Obasanjo said, “When things go wrong, you said the ‘Nigerian factor’. The first thing I learnt in politics was this thing I called the Nigerian factor. In 1998, we had the first local government election. We had parties, and here in Abeokuta, we met in my office and they came up and said, ‘Look, this is money for INEC, money for police.’ At a stage, I said, ‘What nonsense! Are the police not being paid, and INEC too?’

“They said, ‘That’s how we do it’. I said,‘You cannot do that.’ So, they didn’t do that. And of course, we lost all the local governments. We lost all. And then they came to me and said, ‘Baba, you see? If you had allowed us to do it the way we used to do it, we would have won. And I felt guilty.

“During the next election, which was state Assembly, I just stayed in my house. I said, ‘Well, do whatever you want to do, I will not be a part of it’. So, I didn’t even go. But the result was the same. One of the people who got money didn’t even distribute it to where he was supposed to distribute it.”

(Punch)

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Yaba overpass, others will end train-vehicular crashes, says Lagos gov., Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, said his administration was concerned about the safety of Lagosians, hence, the construction of bridges across rail lines in the state.

The governor, who spoke during the unveiling of the Yaba Overpass at Tejuosho Junction, Yaba, on Thursday, said his government commenced the construction of four bridges across rail lines between Oyingbo and Ikeja to stop the “avoidable fatal accidents on railway crossings.”

The Yaba Overpass, which is to serve the Red Line rail station, is a T-bridge design, which is one of the five bridges the Lagos State Government was apportioned for construction out of 10 to separate vehicular and train traffic. The Federal Government is to handle the remaining five.

Speaking at the inauguration, Sanwo-Olu said, “About three years ago, we commenced the construction of four bridges across rail lines between Oyingbo and Ikeja. The bridges, located at Ikeja, Mushin, Yaba and Oyingbo, are designed to ensure the safety of our people.

“Over the years, we have recorded avoidable fatal accidents on railway crossings, most of the time due to human errors. We recall the last one which occurred in March this year at PWD/Ikeja GRA level crossing involving a Lagos State government staff bus. Sadly, lives were lost and people suffered varying degrees of injury in that accident.

“Today’s ceremony is, therefore, significant because, with this overpass and others at Ikeja, Mushin and Oyingbo, which will be formally opened before the end of the year, there will be no more occurrence of train-vehicular accidents at these locations.”

The governor, while speaking on the projected completion of the Red Line rail before the end of the year, said the construction of the Green, Purple and Orange Lines rail system would commence soon.

“It’s my pleasure to announce that three additional rail lines will be added soon, because we’ve done extensive feasibility and viability studies. The Green Line is a 68km rail route from Marina all the way to the Lekki Free Trade Zone. The Purple Line is a 60km length all the way from the Redemption camp in Ogun State to Ojo Majority in Lagos West region. And, of course, we also want to do the Orange Line, from Agbowa in Ikorodu to Ikeja,” he said.

He added that the implementation of the rail lines across the state “will improve the travel experience of our people, reduce congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve their lifestyles.”

Sanwo-Olu called on residents of the state to take ownership of the transport projects across the state and protect them.

He also warned that the bridges are not to be turned into places where traders display their wares.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our transport projects have been implemented at a huge cost. We should not feel unconcerned when societal enemies are bent on destroying our commonwealth. We should be concerned because great societies are built and sustained when their people take ownership of their infrastructure.

“I, therefore, ask you all to protect this bridge from vandals and other societal enemies.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me reiterate that this bridge is not a marketplace; the steps, ramps, and sidewalks are not for displaying wares.

(Punch)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Friday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. The National Assembly on Thursday approved the N2.18tn 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill forwarded to it for consideration by President Bola Tinubu.

While the Senate approved the N5bn proposed for a presidential yacht in the budget, the House of Representatives cancelled the allocation and added it to the student loan, increasing the budget for the scheme to N10bn, up from the initial N5.5bn.

2. The naira has risen to N1,120 against the dollar as the foreign exchange market reacted to news that the Central Bank of Nigeria has begun to clear some of its FX backlog on Thursday. This represents an appreciation of N50 or 4.27 per cent compared to the N1,170 it traded for on Wednesday.

3. The leadership of the Labour Party in Imo State has accused the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, of plotting to rig the scheduled November 11 governorship election. At a press conference on Thursday, while condemning the arrest and brutalisation of the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the state chairman of LP, Calistus Ihejiagwa, said that Uzodimma was clamping down on all opposing voices.

4. Senate President Godswill Akpabio, presided over the administration of the oath of office to Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the newly elected senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, during the plenary on Thursday. The Clerk of the Senate, Mr Chinedu Akubueze, administered the oath at approximately 11:41 am.

5. Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, on Thursday accused the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, of interfering in the state’s politics. He said the presence of Ajaero, in Owerri, the state capital, to lead a protest was in defiance of a court order.

6. President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure a smooth conduct of the off-season governorship elections in their respective states. Tinubu, who gave the charge while handing out the APC’s flags to the candidates of the party in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states, also said he is confident the party would do well in the November 11 elections.

7. The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Thursday said the health condition of its President, Joe Ajaero, is very critical and may be flown abroad for full medical examination after he was seriously beaten, brutalised and battered by alleged agents of the state, including policemen, on Wednesday in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

8. An Abuja High Court, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to unconditionally release the embatled former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele. Respondents in the suit are the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation, Chairman of EFCC and the EFCC.

9. The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, has warned criminals to stay away from the November 11 Imo governorship election or face the wrath of the law. Egbetokun gave the warning on Thursday in Owerri at a meeting of stakeholders ahead of the governorship poll in the state.

10. Two persons were on Thursday confirmed dead while six others were rescued after operatives of the Plateau State Police Command engaged suspected kidnappers in a gun battle.

It was learnt that the kidnappers had earlier invaded Gwalada village in the neighbouring Toro LGA of Bauchi State and kidnapped some residents.

(Daily Post)

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PDP governors hail Tinubu for appointing Wike FCT minister

The Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum has thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointing the ex-governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The PDP Governors Forum paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Minister on Wednesday following the political crisis rocking the Rivers State Government House.

The chairman of the forum and former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, who spoke after the meeting, hailed Tinubu for appointing Wike despite being in the opposition.

According to him, “At the risk of being accused of flattery, we really appreciate Mr President and Nyesom Wike. Again, giving him this office at the FCT, which is like a state, in spite of the fact that he is still one of us as a PDP member, has shown the kind of leadership that Mr President has.”

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Saturday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. The Federal Government has said that in spite of Thursday’s judgement that affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu, he is open to working with the major contenders in the February 25 presidential election; Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party. The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said this on Friday.

2. Leaders and elders of the South-East, South-West, South-South and Middle Belt regions, under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, have said the country belongs to all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic representation and political affiliation. It also added that the federal government must restructure the country and enthrone true federalism, as was originally entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions. This was made known after their national meeting in Abuja.

3. The Edo State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin, on Friday sacked Destiny Enabulele of the Peoples Democratic Party. The tribunal declared the APC candidate, Sunday Aghedo, as the rightful winner of the election, saying the petitioners, Aghedo and his party were able to prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt to earn victory.

4. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said it has seized 6,668 tonnes of illicit substances within two years. The agency also stated that it has arrested over 36,096 suspects and prosecuted over 6,043 within the stipulated period of time. This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the spokesperson for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi.

5. The New Nigeria People’s Party has tasked President Bola Tinubu with the economic recovery of the state. The opposition party said this in a congratulatory message to Tinubu on his recent victory at the Supreme Court on Thursday. In a letter by the National Secretary of NNPP, Comrade Oginni Olaposi Sunday, the party called on Tinubu to be magnanimous in victory by making sure that opposition political parties are given ample opportunities to contribute their quotas to national development.

6. The Federal Government has flagged off the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (PCNGI), with seven conversion centres across Nigeria. Chief Of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajibiamila, officially flagged off the initiative on Friday at the State House, Abuja.

7. The Court of Appeal in Abuja has refused the motions by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Timipre Sylva seeking to stay execution of the judgement nullifying their candidature in the November 11 Bayelsa State governorship election. Sylva filed the appeal and stay of execution following the judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which barred him from contesting as the APC candidate because he has served twice as governor.

8. The Senate has said it will summon the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) over the lack of funds to explore and develop new frontier acreages. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Jarigbe Jarigbe, disclosed this Friday while addressing reporters after a session held behind a closed-door with the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe.

9. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has assured that the problem of depletion on the bench of the Supreme Court will soon be addressed. Justice Ariwoola said efforts were in top gear to appoint new justices to the apex court. He spoke in Abuja yesterday during a valedictory court session held in honour of retiring Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad.

10. The naira on Friday made a significant gain of N175 to dollar at the parallel market. The local currency, which exchanged at N1,315 to the dollar at the parallel market on Thursday, closed on Friday at N1,140 as speculators dumped dollar at willing buyers.

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Wednesday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. The organised Labour has expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the Federal Government to avert its planned nationwide strike. The state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress said failure to implement the agreement before the October 30 deadline might leave them with no choice but to down tools.

2. The Peoples Democratic Party Governorship Campaign Council in Bayelsa State has advised the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the November 11 governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva, to honourably step down from the race as the odds were allegedly against him. This was contained in a press release on Tuesday by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Duoye Diri.

3. Twenty-five soldiers and an officer are currently being court-martialed in the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army for various offences. The personnel facing the trial are drawn from various formations within the division, whose area of responsibility covers the entire South-East states and Cross River. The General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Maj. Gen. Hassan Dada, inaugurated the court martial in Enugu on Tuesday.

4. The Senate has justified the purchase of a 2023 model of Toyota Landcruiser for members at the contract price of about N160 million each, saying even Local Government Chairmen drive good cars. This is in addition to the bullet proof vehicles being purchased for Senate President Godswill Akpabio and his deputy, Barau Jibrin.

5. Bandits have attacked a mosque in Allah Babba community, Sabon Layi Village of Kakangi Constituency in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. They killed the Imam and two other people, injuring two more worshippers.

6. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, on Tuesday, visited the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. Speaking during the visit, Montgomery said he was at the APC headquarters to congratulate Ganduje on his new role as the party’s helmsman.

7. There was pandemonium at Minna, Niger State Capital, when a suspected member of Boko Haram sect engaged security operatives in a gun duel in the wee hours of Tuesday. Security Operatives were said to have launched an operation at Gebganu Area of Minna, where the house of the suspect is located.

8. The House of Representatives, on Monday, summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Yemi Cardoso over the lifting of the forex ban on 43 items. Cardoso is to appear before the House committees on Regulatory Banking, Finance and Customs.

9. President Bola Tinubu said on Tuesday, October 24, that the Nigerian economy will soon bounce back despite the difficulties being experienced by Nigerians. The President spoke while flagging off the two-day Green Economy Summit: ‘Sustainable Future: Harnessing Green Assets and Innovation for Niger State’s Prosperity’, organised by Niger State Government.

10. President Bola Tinubu has directed the implementation of all recommendations by the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee across ministries, agencies, and departments of the federal government. President Tinubu gave the directive on Tuesday, October 24, after receiving the report on the quick-win achievements of the committee from its chairman, Taiwo Oyedele, at the State House, Abuja.

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Tuesday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. The Federal Executive Council on Monday approved the application for a $3.45bn loan to finance five items. They include projects in the power sector, renewable energy, states’ resource mobilisation programme, adolescent girls’ initiative for learning and empowerment and a women’s empowerment project.

2. President Bola Tinubu has assured Nigerians and investors that there is an ongoing plan to boost the country’s foreign exchange liquidity. This was as the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said that the country was expecting about $10bn inflows in the nearest term, which would help to clear foreign exchange backlog and stabilise the naira.

3. The Chairman of the Supreme Court panel hearing the appeals against the election of President Bola Tinubu, Justice John Okoro, said on Monday that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, must prove the allegation of certificate forgery levelled against the president beyond reasonable doubt. He stated this following the submission of Atiku’s lead counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, urging the court to admit the fresh evidence brought by the petitioners.

4. The Federal Government has said it will demand damages from Process & Industrial Developments Limited, which lost its $11bn arbitration award against Nigeria on Monday in the United Kingdom. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi said that there will be further hearing by the United Kingdom court on the heels of the judgment to determine costs payable by P&ID and others in the matter.

5. Tragedy struck on Monday in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, when a tree fell and killed two people, including a woman, and injured 10 others in the Sango area of the town. The incident, according to sources, occurred around 8am by the roadside near a filling station opposite Oke Adini Junction of the town.

6. The Ondo State House of Assembly has written to the State Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to constitute a panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa. In a letter signed by the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji, and made available to our correspondent on Monday, the House said the impeachment process resumed after the expiration of the ex parte order of the Federal High Court.

7. Workers across the 36 States and the national assemblies say they have concluded all arrangements to lock up their respective workplaces pending when their demands for financial autonomy of the legislative arm of government would be granted.

8. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said the era of industrial actions in the nation’s academic environment has come to an end as the administration’s Students Loans Scheme begins January 2024. He stated this on Monday while speaking at the 29th edition of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, anchored by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), at the Transcorps Hilton, Abuja.

9. The Lagos State Government has sealed off the popular Alaba International Market in continuation of the clampdown on markets across the state over poor environmental sanitation. Alaba Market’s shutdown followed the closure of several other markets in the State in recent times by the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

10. Some irregularities, including duplications in the award of contracts, have been uncovered by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Fact-finding on the East-West Road project. According to the committee, the duplications were discovered in the award of some projects by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the governments of the states in the region and the local governments.

(Daily Post)

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Fire outbreak at Warri Refinery won’t affect rehabilitation delivery – NNPCL

he Nigeria n National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has assured the fire which broke out at the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), will not affect the delivery timing of rehabilitation works at the facility.

Management of the NNPCL disclosed this in a statement posted on its official X handle on Friday evening.

Describing the fire as “minor,” the company said it was put out by its safety officers about 30 minutes after it occurred.

The statement reads: “This afternoon, at about 15:02hrs, there was a minor fire incident at the cooling tower of Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC).

“The fire which occurred as a result of ongoing welding activity at the top of the cooling tower will not affect the refinery rehabilitation project delivery schedule.

“NNPC Limited safety officers at the Refinery acted immediately and put out the fire at about 15:30hrs; normalcy has since been restored.

“NNPC Limited will continue to adhere to the best safety standards in all its business operations.”

(Nation)

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Cash transfer: Nigerians without NIN, BVN won’t benefit – FG

The Federal Government is reviewing and expanding the National Social Register to accommodate pensioners and ex-servicemen under its Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

It is also removing beneficiaries who have excited the poverty line.

Saturday PUNCH gathered that the government was also taking out dead beneficiaries from the register and would disqualify those without National Identification Numbers and Bank Verification Numbers.

It was further gathered that payments would be made directly to the beneficiaries by the Central Bank of Nigeria and not through consultants, as the first batch of bulk payments would begin next week for five million households.

The Conditional Cash Transfer scheme is part of the National Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government, which is a project created to change the lives of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty, upgrade their standards of living and improve the economy.

In commemoration of the 2023 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Tuesday in Abuja, President Bola Tinubu launched the disbursement of N25,000 to 15 million households for three months as a social safety net intervention.

The aim is to mitigate the impact of the recent fuel subsidy removal and help eradicate poverty across the country.

Providing further details on the initiative in response to inquiries by Saturday PUNCH, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Rasheed Olanrewaju, stated that the cash transfer scheme had been reviewed and expanded.

Asked if the Federal Government would use the old register used by the former President Muhammadu Buhari administration to transfer the money, he stated, “We are using a verified expanded register that has pensioners and veterans, as well as other vulnerable persons who were not captured.”

Confirming the position of the minister’s media aide, the National Communications Manager, National Social Investment Programme Agency, Jamaldeen Kabir, stated that beneficiaries who had exited the poverty line were being removed from the register.

Kabir said, “What he (Olanrewaju) told you is very correct, because the register is being expanded. First of all, it has to be verified so that those who are out of the poverty line will be removed from the old register.

“Those in the register, are they still within the poverty line or have they exited the line? The expansion will also include the wives of fallen heroes and pensioners.”

On when the cash transfer would begin, Olanrewaju stated that though bulk payments would commence from next week, some of those who had been verified had already started receiving payment alerts.

“The cash transfer (scheme) has been launched and once a household is verified, they get paid. The batches begin this month, next week to be precise; however, verified people have started receiving alerts,” he stated.

Also commenting on when the cash transfer would begin, Kabir said, “Actually, when the programme was launched at the Presidential Villa three days ago, some beneficiaries were presented with some cheques.

“So, before this month ends, the beneficiaries in the first phase will receive theirs, and this phase caters to five million households. So, we are expecting those five million households to receive money in the months of October, November and December,” Olanrewaju added.

On how many ghost recipients had been discovered, the minister’s aide stated that a lot of measures had been put in place to make the scheme credible, such as the introduction of the NIN and BVN.

“They may not be ghosts, but we have put in place many controls to make the process credible and clean. First, we looked for the NIN and BVN to match with in-person verification and biometrics. The process is from the CBN to the beneficiaries; there are no middlemen,” Olanrewaju stated.

Asked to state the number of dead recipients, he replied, “We have struck off many names following the verification. The final figure will be out in weeks; it may run into millions.

“Some are dead; some are no longer in that category (of the poor) and some could not be identified at locations given, so wait till we get the compilation ready,” he added.

Asked to state those involved in identity theft, he said, “All these will be determined when the final report is out. For now, we will pay those fully verified and the names will be pasted in communities.

Fifteen million households amount to about 62 million individuals, with an average of five persons per household.”

The humanitarian ministry stated that the determination of the Federal Government to eradicate poverty was in line with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which has poverty eradication, food security, economic growth and job creation as priorities.

At the launch of the cash transfer scheme on Tuesday, Tinubu, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, enumerated various steps his administration had taken to ameliorate poverty in the country.

These, according to the President, include providing the policy framework and road map for poverty alleviation, developing humanitarian response and expanding the National Social Register to capture Nigerians living below $1.95 per day.

Other steps include restructuring of the National Social Investment Programme and repositioning it for quick and efficient delivery that is transparent, as well as partnering with the World Bank Group and other development partners to implement conditional cash transfers and business grants, among others.

The ministry stated that the government was also investing N100bn in the purchase of 3,000 units of 20-seater Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses for cheaper transportation.

It further stated that there was an investment of N200bn to cultivate 500,000 hectares of farmland to improve food security.

The ministry added, “The release of 2,000 metric tonnes of grains from the strategic grains reserves to households across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The distribution of 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers and seedlings to farmers, who are committed to the nation’s food security.

“The release of N75bn to support 100,000 small and medium enterprises and start-ups. Renewed Hope Shelter Programme for the poor, refugees and internally displaced persons targeted at one million households.

“Business grants and loans for vulnerable market women, farmers and traders to expand their business, targeted at two million beneficiaries, among other interventions from various ministries through a multi-sectoral approach.”

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, recently stated that all stakeholders, including the private sector players, development partners and other nations, should support Nigeria in its drive to eliminate poverty.

She stated, “The cardinal goal of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration is to give the poor and vulnerable Nigerians a new breath of hope, which is also in line with the SDG target”

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not relent until vulnerable Nigerians are completely pulled out of poverty by 2030.”

Edu said the conditional cash transfer was a proven way to alleviate poverty, as it would give households the financial support to start micro and small enterprises, provide basic health care and food, keep their children in school and attend to the immediate needs of the households.

She stated, “Mr. President, during the October 1, 2023, national broadcast, announced this intervention; we have gone through a thorough and rigorous process of verification for the National Social Register, giving us the lead way to begin payments.

“The beneficiaries are drawn from across all states in the country plus the Federal Capital Territory and it is being done in a transparent manner that is traceable and verifiable.

“Beyond this, the government will be providing low-cost shelter for the poor and internally displaced persons as a form of providing that cover for them.

“Several other interventions, including the rural vocational skills intervention, will be carried out on a country-wide scale. All of these are targeted at the various dimensions of poverty across the country.”

(Punch)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Monday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. A pastor with the Christ Liberty Evangelism Church, Rosco, Iyana Iyesi, Ota, Oyenekan Oluwaseyi, and three others have been arrested with a human skull in the Saje Area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital. Oluwaseyi and the three others, Ibrahim Agbowewe, Suleiman Ogunbunmi, and Gafari Akinsanya, were arrested by men of the state police command in the early hours of Saturday.

2. President Bola Tinubu may today (Monday) swear in three additional ministers into his 48-person cabinet. The three new ministers are expected to be sworn into office at the Council Chamber of the State House before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting.

3. The International Monetary Fund has said the naira is currently under pressure and Nigeria is free to seek loan from the Fund to stabilise the currency if it considers it a good option. The Washington-based lender however noted that recent exchange reforms and other steps taken by the Nigerian authorities were in order.

4. Several terrorists were killed after an air interdiction conducted by the personnel of the Nigerian Air Force at Bukar Meram in Borno State. Also, over 40 motorcycles and six gun trucks were destroyed during the air raids. The spokesman for the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement on Sunday that the operations were conducted after operatives discovered that the terrorists had left Suwa for Bukar Meram.

5. The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State, Ahmed Ododo, says if elected in the November 11 election, he will facilitate the establishment of an agricultural free trade zone in Okunland. This, he said, would enhance agro-based processing for export, and enhance rapid development of social infrastructure in the area.

6. The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, through his media aide, Paul Ibe, has stated that there is clear documentation regarding his name change from Siddiq to Atiku Abubakar. This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by his media adviser, Paul Ibe in response to allegations of forgery made by the ruling All Progressives Congress.

7. As Nigerians struggle to cope with harsh economic reality worsened by the removal of fuel subsidy, the House of Representatives has announced that it has finalised plans for the distribution of official vehicles for members of the 10th National Assembly. In a statement on Sunday, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi, said the management was in the process of procuring and distributing the vehicles to the members.

8. Vice President Kashim Shettima on Sunday departed Abuja to represent President Bola Tinubu in Beijing, China, at the third Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum. A statement on Sunday in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Stanley Nkwocha, said the forum will be held from October 16 to 18.

9. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to use the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states to redeem its image. It also demanded that the commission replace the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of Imo State, Prof. Sylvia Agu, to avoid a repeat of the electoral chaos recorded in Adamawa State during the last governorship election.

10. Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations, Okafor Williams and Hakeem Salami. Illicit drugs and assets worth multi-billion-naira were seized from them after weeks of intelligence-led operations across the country and outside Nigeria.

(Daily Post)

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